Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is “being smart” in looking to appoint an experienced manager as it will help boost their takeover hopes, according to Darren Bent.

The former Tottenham and Aston Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, acknowledges that the Toon Army are unlikely to get excited by the prospect of Steve Bruce taking charge but insists there is sense in the owner’s decision.

It has been widely reported that the Sheffield Wednesday boss is on course to take the vacant manager’s seat at St James’ Park, Rafael Benitez having left Tyneside at the end of his contract this summer.

Bent says that Newcastle’s Premier League status is the most important thing to the club right now and insists the arrival of someone like Bruce is Ashley trying to cement their place among the top flight to boost a takeover deal.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of ambition, I think it’s a case of Mike Ashley understands where Newcastle are at the moment,” Bent told Football Insider.

“Rather than going out and taking a risk on maybe a manager who’s maybe not been managing that long, hasn’t been in and around it, you have to, at times, turn to a manager who knows what they’re doing at a crucial time.

“Mike Ashley knows that, obviously he’s trying to sell them, their stock’s as high as it’s ever going to be. If they get relegated then that stock goes down.

“If he gets an established manager who can get results, like a Steve Bruce, people might not see it as the most exciting but at the end of the day need to be in the Premier League and being linked with these kind of managers, Mike Ashley’s being smart there.”


Bruce, who was born and raised on Tyneside, only took charge at Sheffield Wednesday back at the start of February, having found himself without a job after his sacking at Aston Villa four months before.

He lost just three of his 18 games in charge of the Owls last season but will be well remembered for his time at Newcastle’s fierce rivals Sunderland.

In other Newcastle United news, Bent has tipped the club to sell one of their prize assets to Aston Villa.